Industrial facilities need a reliable flow of electricity to operate efficiently and competitively, which is why managers should consider replacing old switchgear systems that lead to downtime and safety issues.
While switchgear modernization solutions are usually more cost-effective and can help extend the service life of electrical infrastructure, there are some cases where it makes more sense to install new equipment that will lead to more long-term benefits. In either case, it helps to partner with distributor professionals who can guide the way forward.
Ultimately, many switchgear systems are reaching their end of life, with original manufacturers no longer able to provide support with original parts. With maintenance costs rising and aging inventory becoming obsolete, it’s not a matter of if a malfunction will occur, it’s a matter of when. (Check out this Schneider Electric infographic, which helps managers establish the best switchgear upgrade approach to take.)
6 benefits of replacing old switchgear systems
- Enjoy better designs and technology. Aging switchgear lacks modern technological capabilities, such as access to predictive analytics and integration with the industrial internet of things (IIoT). Over the past two decades, power circuit breaker and protective relay technologies have undergone significant design improvements. Additionally, newer switchgear designs are significantly smaller than older ones.
- Experience less maintenance. Modern power circuit breakers, for example, now offer high fault-current withstand capabilities without the use of limiter fuses, helping to reduce maintenance requirements.
- Achieve increased safety. Constantly working around electrical equipment can be very dangerous, especially when the infrastructure is outdated and possibly not compliant with the latest safety guidelines. New switchgear is updated to include the latest safety features, protocols and procedures to help avoid injuries.
- Witness greater reliability and durability. Up-to-date equipment improves overall reliability by eliminating faults that may occur with older equipment, reducing the chance of unplanned power outages.
- Gain better access to spare parts. Modern equipment tends to result in greater availability of spare parts, making repairs and upgrades more affordable and feasible.
- Save energy. New switchgear systems can help reduce energy consumption by as much as 40%, while older machines continue to consume larger amounts of energy.